Rosberg gets his revenge as Hamilton holds back

2015 Mexican Grand Prix review

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Was the most significant event of the United States Grand Prix really two drivers chucking a hat at each other?

For anyone labouring under the misconception that this had been the source of Nico Rosberg’s grief in Austin, the Mexican Grand Prix provided a timely reminder that the business of winning matters more to sportsmen than ‘the show’.

Stung by his third consecutive pole-to-defeat, irked by the turn one clash with his team mate, deflated by the early conclusion to the championship and, above all, humiliated that it was his own mistake that ultimately cost him victory, Rosberg set out for revenge as F1 returned to Mexico.

A capacity crowd welcomed F1 back to Mexico for the first time in over two decades at a venue which had changed so much since F1’s last visit the resemblance had almost vanished. The track’s owners, Corporacion Interamericana de Entretenimiento, saw fit to build a stadium on the inside of its signature Peraltada corner which as soon as 2002 had made it impossible for high-performance racing cars to negotiate the corner safely – even those designed to race on ovals.

F1’s return led to the eradication of most of the remaining quick corners, save for a perfunctory sequence of semi-quick bends in the middle of lap where the tortuous and challenging Esses had one been.

But while the course had been sapped of much of its driving challenge, the spectators were treated to one of the best vantage points in motor racing. At the Foro Sol stadium the cars filed through the grandstands Singapore-style, and in an inspired move the organisers also arranged for the podium ceremony to take place at this part of the track.

Rosberg resists Hamilton at the start

Rosberg won the long run to turn one
Late-running construction work meant the track had been slippery even by the standards of a newly-laid course during practice, and introduced a little more guesswork than usual into teams’ pre-race preparations. Cooling was discovered to be a greater priority than expected – notably for Rosberg in the first practice session, when his rear brakes began to barbecue themselves.

From then on Rosberg held sway over his team mate: a whisker faster down the huge, 1.2-kilometre main straight which more than made up for a trade-off in performance in the slow final sector of the lap where Lewis Hamilton was predictably strong.

Pre-race predictions of carnage at the start proved unfounded. Rosberg’s starts have been found wanting since the mid-season rules tweak, and though this one didn’t look perfect it was sufficient to keep Hamilton behind, even after the 900-metre sprint to turn one.

The widepread predictions of first corner carnage were not realised. The only victim was Sebastian Vettel, whose hope he would be able to take on the Mercedes was shattered when he was passed by Daniil Kvyat and then given a puncture by the other Red Bull.

Vettel scampered back to the pits, earning disapproval from Fernando Alonso as he did. “Vettel is cutting all over the circuit,2 he complained on the radio. “Very dangerous manoeuvre.” The McLaren driver was heading into the pits to retire and briefly delayed Vettel as he did.

Once he’d returned to the track with a fresh set of tyre, Vettel immediately began lapping close to the Mercedes drivers’ lap times. His confidence in Ferrari’s pace had been well-placed, and his early setback prevented a closer race from developing.

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Bottas and Raikkonen tangle again

By lap eight Mercedes had five seconds in hand over their closest challenge, Kvyat, and with the field bunched up closely behind them others soon took the opportunity to pit. Williams, who had the trump card of the best straight line speed, brought both of their drivers in by lap ten. Their pace having switched to the harder medium compound tyre was not sufficient to get them in front of Kvyat, but Daniel Ricciardo was jumped by both of them.

Kvyat held on to third place partly because Valtteri Bottas came out of the pits behind Kimi Raikkonen, setting up a fresh contest between the pair who had clashed in Russia.

On that occasion it had been to the detriment of Bottas. This time it was Raikkonen, who had risen 12 places from 19th on the grid, who lost out. Bottas nosed ahead on the outside as they entered turn four, Raikkonen edged him wide but Bottas was still on the track and still alongside the Ferrari. Regardless, Raikkonen took his normal line into turn five and contact was inevitably made.

Raikkonen’s right-rear suspension failed immediately while Bottas pressed on. The stewards declined to blame either driver: something past experience has shown tends to happen when the perpetrator retires and the innocent party continues.

Hamilton accepts “wrong call”

Hamilton had drawn slightly closer to Rosberg as their first pit stop loomed, then stayed out two laps later than his team mate before being told to pit. “Nico faster on the [medium],” his race engineer pointed out somewhat obviously, as Rosberg’s tyres were new. The real question was whether making two pit stops or one was the quickest way to the end of the race.

With track temperatures having risen 12C compared to the previous day’s running, the safest way to a one-two for Mercedes was undoubtedly to pit twice. Hamilton, however, fancied trying to jump Rosberg by making a single stop.

Hamilton did 28 laps on his soft tyres at the start of the race, a set which had also done four laps in qualifying for a total of 32. A one-stop strategy would mean running a fresh set of mediums just 11 laps further – less if Hamilton had extended his first stint, and as his last lap before pitting had been within two-tenths of Rosberg’s pace at the end of his first stint that seems to have been reasonable.

That explains why when Hamilton was told to mimic Rosberg’s second pit stop after just 20 laps on his medium tyres, he was reluctant. “These tyres are still good,” he protested.

After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing his engineer Peter Bonnington laid down the law: “For a long run on this set we will be down to zero if not worse, so this is boxing end of this lap instruction.”

“I think that’s the wrong call,” Hamilton answered, then diplomatically added: “But I’m coming in.” Asked afterwards whether the call had been correct, Hamilton talked about five different things instead.

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Vettel hits the wall

Shortly after Hamilton pitted, Vettel’s ragged race came to an end. He had already spun once, pushing too hard in the grip-less middle sector, and groused when instructed to let Hamilton by to lap him. On lap 51 the car got away from him for good and planted itself in a TecPro barrier. “I’m not proud of that,” he admitted afterwards.

In the subsequent, lengthy Safety Car period Felipe Nasr’s brakes cooked themselves and he joined Vettel as the race’s fourth and final retirement.

Hamilton vainly gave chase of Rosbreg, almost drawing within DRS range only to lose time in the final sector. “So hard to follow here,” he reported.

Despite taking a fresh set of soft tyres Kvyat swiftly lost his podium position. “We didn’t have enough pace on the straight and Williams went full bananas, so Bottas passed me quite easily”. He came home fourth ahead of Ricciardo, who had demoted Massa with a late-braking move at turn one.

The two Force Indias were next, Nico Hulkenberg ahead of home hero Sergio Perez, who had won the crowd’s applause in the stadium by passing the two Toro Rossos there.

What might have been for Hamilton

Perez’s race also demonstrated what might have happened had Hamilton stayed out. He was 16.5s behind his team mate Nico Hulkenberg when the Safety Car came out and Force India believed Hulkenberg would drop behind him when they pitted him. But Force India were surprised to discover Hulkenberg stayed ahead.

Hamilton was 18.6s ahead of Rosberg before he pitted, so had he stayed out just two laps longer he might also have been able to make a pit stop under the Safety Car and come out ahead of his team mate. Alternatively, even if he had decided not to pit at all he might still have won. Perez was able to nurse his tyres to the end without losing a place after the Safety Car came in.

But would Hamilton have done differently if the championship had still been on the line? Or, following the trauma of Monaco, did he not want to risk getting the call wrong?

Either way, it secured a badly-needed win for his team mate.

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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51 comments on “Rosberg gets his revenge as Hamilton holds back”

  1. One issue I have with the whole Perez did a long sting and therefore so can Hamilton, is that they were in completely different cars. FI are known to make one of the most if not the most tyre friendly car on the grid. Apart from that it is known that one of Perez’s strongest aspect as a driver is that he is very good at tyre saving. The Merc on the other hand despite being clearly the fastest car it still is not the most efficient in tyre saving. Plus Hamilton might be one of the fastest drivers, however his tyre saving skills can be improved (not that they are bad).

    1. But if Lewis could do a total of 32 laps on soft, logically he should be able to 39 laps on medium. Anyway what is done is done. Rosberg won and that’s also good because at least there is a different winner.

      1. As above, Hamilton needed to do 43 laps on medium.

    2. @papalotis both Force India and Perez might be good, but they don’t save 10 laps of tyres by themselves like that. If anything, the difference they make is tiny, compared to what the others can do.

      Considering Lewis’ soft tyres were good enough when he pitted, after 28 race laps (and 4 qualy laps), and the mediums obviously holding better, the chances of him doing only 1 stop were really good. Also, Perez did 53 laps, but Bottas did 45 laps on the medium aswell. Another example with another car and another driver.

  2. Rosberg definitely needed to get a win, even if it was just for his own self belief. He needed to show he was as capable a driver as Hamilton is, and this race showed that.

    1. Michael Reilly
      2nd November 2015, 18:01

      Good article, but like many these days it refers to “carnage” rather than wreckage. Unless there was fear of body parts and blood being strewn all over Turn 1, wreckage is the way to go.

      1. Keith doesn’t ask me for editorial comments, but if he did I don’t think I would have mentioned that. My guess is this website keeps him busy 7 days a week, so a bit of hyperbole here or there wouldn’t be something I’d get excited about. Oh … sorry, I used “excited”, my mistake, I should have used “concerned”.

      2. Language is fluid and ever-changing; the ultimate arbiter is usage

        1. Michael Reilly
          3rd November 2015, 7:33

          Language does evolve, but not always for the better.

    2. @drycrust Hmm well for me the race showed that given pole and not losing the lead at first corner he can control the race as Hamilton has done numerous times this season. However for him to be as capable driver as Hamilton the championship would still be alive today. How capable a driver is is proved over a season or seasons, in this case Nico hasn’t shown to as a capable as Hamilton. Hence why Nico picked up his 4th win of the season while Hamilton is on 10. For me personally it’s 11-3 but thats not what the results show but either figures aren’t favourable to the claim that Nico is just as capable driver as Hamilton.

      Personally I think Nico’s win was the best thing that could of happened, It gives Nico some confidence again but it also reminds Hamilton what it’s like to finish second, and while Hamilton doesn’t have anything left to win this season I think he will maybe fight a little harder in Brazil, a track where he hasn’t won yet and I’m sure he would like to change that. Also as I said a few days ago the 2016 championship started at the fall of the flag in Austin and Hamilton wont want to allow Nico to go into the winter break with any confidence of late seasons wins.

      1. @woodyd91 It is easy to make excuses, but I wanted to avoid that and give Rosberg the credit his win deserves. Maybe he did control the race, but that is exactly why he deserves the credit for the win: only by being as good as Hamilton was he able to do that! The reason Rosberg won was because on that day he played his cards better than Hamilton did.

        1. Could of course suggest that Hamilton was ordered not to play the cards he wanted to by the team insisting he pitted.

          1. Yes it could, it could also suggest they had the opportunity to put fresh tyres on both cars while they had time. Yes, Mercedes had won the championship, but that doesn’t mean they want to give points to their competitors.

        2. @drycrust There were no excuses, don’t get me wrong Rosberg deserved the win in Mexico, he drove well with always being that slight bit faster than Hamilton when he needed to be. Full credit goes to him on the victory. However you said that Mexico proved he just as capable driver as Hamilton, which in my opinion at least it didn’t, a race win does not make a champion. Nico is a quick driver but he isn’t as capable as Hamilton, that’s why Hamilton has 3 titles and Nico has 0, Why Hamilton has 10 race wins to Nico’s 4 this season, which is only 1 more than Vettel who in general is driving a car that is still a way off Mercedes, Singapore being the exception, and if you take away Monaco which Rosberg after being over 20 seconds behind his team mate and only a couple in front of Vettel then he would be on 3 wins as well. He generally falls down in wheel to wheel action with Hamilton and others, he is lacking in race craft when you comparing him to others on the grid.

          Does he server credit for the race win? Yes. Does that race win prove he is as capable a driver as Hamilton? Not in my opinion. Maybe that will change in the future but history at the moment shows us differently.

    3. Yes, well done Nico. Utterly irrelevant to the world championship, of course. Hamilton seemed more than happy for Rosberg to get his inner rage ‘out of his system’ and make his point while he chills out and enjoys being champion. The real test for Rosberg begins again next year in Australia.

  3. I think there was never any chance for Lewis to go on a different strategy. I am certain that if he stayed out, he could probably hold Rosberg off and win, however having a huge pace advantage, Mercedes decided to pit twice and make 100% sure that they will not get in any issue with the tyres (like Vettel at Spa for example). When they made the decision, it was pretty clear that both drivers where supposed to follow it.

    Rosberg has followed this “follow the leader” type of strategy, in all races that he was under no threat from another driver (usually Vettel), so it would be pretty unfair for Hamilton to deny doing the same, especially since he already won the title.

  4. I love how the media and some fans are trying to make a big deal out of this race, with Rosberg winning. Good for Nico, job well done, well deserved and well earned victory. But the championships have been decided, and the races that matter for Nico will start in 2016, when the pressure of a championship is back on. The pressure is largely off, and the results don’t carry over into 2016. For drivers from other teams, a win would be enormous….to beat the Mercs would mean something to Ferrari or Williams. But it’s not as if Nico hasn’t won before. Nico’s problem has been not being able to handle Lewis when he absolutely must…..Lewis has dominated him. One win, or even three to end this season, isn’t going to change that. That can only change when the title is in the balance, and that can only happen again in the new season.

  5. I can’t wait for the day one of the Mercedes driver asks for another strategy and somehow makes it work and overtakes the other car in the pitstops. There have been quite a few occasions now where either was behind and just pitted one lap later instead of daring something. Going for the undercut for example, trying to eek out few more laps to have a much fresher set in the following stint. The Mercedes crew are not flexible whatsoever when it comes to strategy, it’s always the same for both. It would have been very interesting if Hamilton’s engineer said ‘yeah, we can do a one-stop, let’s give it a go’ rather than his pathetic excuse ‘it’s for safety reasons’. So what had Rosberg overtook him on track because of his tyre wear then, the ball you didn’t throw is always a miss.

    1. On top of that they have the luxury to be miles ahead of everyone else anyway so the worst that could happen is probably still second…

    2. Yep @xtwl it would be a lot better if they had a strategist for each driver, like McLaren.

    3. @xtwl, Rosberg has been given a different strategy from Hamilton on a few occasions already. At one point it even almost gave him the race win (Bahrain 2014?) when a safety car eliminated Hamilton’s lead and Rosberg was on the faster tyres.

      1. @patrickl They just ran the medium on Rosberg in the middle stint and the soft on Hamilton. Rosberg was just lucky the SC came out during their third stint where he was always going on the option and where Hamilton was obliged to use the medium. Granted it is one of the few occasions their strategy isn’t identical and I wish we had more occasions like that were they both are on different compounds at different times.

        1. @xtwl, Yeah and switching compounds is a different strategy.

          1. @patrickl So now we have one occasion on almost 40 races where there were more chances to do so.

  6. Although he won on merit the team decision helped him a lot, had they stayed out with the same set he would have struggled in the end as Lewis manages his tyre more efficiently, but in the end who knows.

  7. In other words: Lewis was two laps away from getting massively lucky.

  8. Yeah, hamilton could have probably finished without pitting for new tires. But so could have rosberg.

    1. Which is why allowing them to decide strategy would have been much more interesting than Mercedes effectively ruling that who’s ahead by the first few corners wins the race.

    2. Exactly, just don’t get all this biased British hype its seriously become irrational. What a strange article, unless you add the caveat that Rosberg was wearing his tyres less than Hamilton all race (confirmed in radio transmissions during race), so ANYTHING Hamilton could have done, so could have Rosberg. Or we can play the ‘coulda, woulda, shoulda’ game on how ANY driver could have won the Mexican GP, given the right set of bizarre circumstances. Its simple, the plan was 1 stop, the drivers both were cool with this, the team became worried about tyre wear, by pitting the cars for a 2nd stop the race could continue for the lead and tyre worries for Mercedes are averted, Rosberg followed instruction without question even though he had the most to lose, and then Lewis looked for an unfair advantage over his teammate whom had only followed team instructions and had the most to lose of the pair by pitting anyway. Twist it any way you want, that’s what happened.

      1. You say this:

        Lewis looked for an unfair advantage over his teammate whom had only followed team instructions

        And then say this:

        Twist it any way you want, that’s what happened.

        As if somehow, out of all the people in and around F1, and all the fans on this site and others, you’re the only one speaking the truth.

        Guess what? You’re the one twisting the facts to suit your own viewpoint.

      2. the plan was 1 stop, the drivers both were cool with this

        Agreed, that was the plan and (presumably) the drivers were cool with it. Hamilton was not cool with changing to a 2 stop strategy, that’s the point. He felt that the team were giving him a strategy to guarantee his second place finish rather than a strategy which might give him a small chance to take the victory (even without the safety car). Any racer in Hamilton’s position would have wanted to stick with the original strategy.

        1. @JerseyF1 A two stop strategy was always on the cards, that’s why they call it plan B. In the strategy/race time calculations before the race, a one stop and a two stop worked out at exactly the same total time so plan A was a one stop and plan B was a two stop. Considering that the Merc’s race pace was considerably better than everyone else and they managed to generate sufficient lead to get a free pit stop without losing track position, changing to plan B makes perfect sense as it ensured that no tyre problems could surface towards the end of the race.
          Now change the driver instructions around and see if it makes any sense to you. PB Nico box this lap. NR Why? PB we are going to give you a new set of tyres and leave Lewis out so that he has a chance to win the race. NR But these tyres still feel fine. PB Nico box this lap, Instruction. NR I think that’s a bad call so I would like to stick with these tyres thanks. PB Nico you will box this lap otherwise your tyres will be finished by the end of the race. NR but if Lewis can make it to the end then so can I. The car in second place will always use more tyre than the car in first so I think I will be OK thanks.
          So you see unless you pit both cars it’s not fair on one of the drivers, so you either pit both or you pit niether. It made sense to pit both and Lewis thought that he could take advantage of the situation but the team were never going to allow that to happen. There was nothing stopping Lewis from racing Nico as hard as he wanted to ie no team orders but the team weren’t about to give him an unfair advantage either. I am sure that if you were in charge and making the strategy calls, you would have done exactly the same thing.

  9. as you usual whenever rosberg or vettel have won, you keep going on and on and on about how hamilton could have won! you can never seem to praise either rosberg or vettel just only thinking of how hamilton can win!

  10. Those at the top of Mercedes team management may have considered that, having already won the championship and being guaranteed a one-two podium at Mexico – if nothing broke -, it would be better to have Rosberg take the win, and play it conservatively with Hamilton. The reason being that they’ll be dealing with Rosberg, the more childish of the two, and Hamilton, the (usually) more adult of the two for at least another season or two.

    So, why risk even more antics by Rosberg, especially if they might spill-over onto the track, with lots more consequences than a tossed hat? As with any spoilt child, giving them their own toy to play with (in this case, a large winner’s trophy) might save you from having to endure future tantrums, or at least lessen their volume.

    FYI, I do like Rosberg, sort of. But he, like others who have had fame thrust upon them at a young age, still lacks maturity. One driver that Rosberg might take a few lessons from is Perez, who is a genuinely likeable guy, and one who seems to understand that, even when you’re treated like a god, a god you ain’t.

  11. I still don’t understand how only Kvyat got ahead of Bottas under the safety car and Ricciardo and Massa didn’t.

  12. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
    3rd November 2015, 8:31

    It looked to me like Hamilton could have stayed out, but Mercedes were making a precautionary stop. In order to do that they should have got verbal agreement from both drivers first, as each driver should have the final word on strategy. The other mistake was to pit both drivers very early, preventing them from taking advantage of the safety car; if it’s a precautionary stop it should be left until later in the race. The real shame is that Hamilton didn’t switch to a 2-stop early in the race, he had nothing to lose but everything to gain by taking a bit of a gamble.

    A shocking race from Ferrari: Vettel drove like Hamilton in 2007 (during one of his off days!), while Raikkonen was fully deserving of a penalty.

    1. 2007!!! did you mean 2011?

      Anyway. Hamilton could not have gone for two stop from the start because the team doesn’t allow them to play different strategies with each other like that.
      Which is a shame really because many races could have been more interesting if they were allowed to play with strategies.

  13. @keithcollantine Thanks for this report Keith. 2 points I’d like to discuss:

    1) Regarding the Kimi-Bottas collision: are you saying that the stewards are deciding on a punishment based on the results of the incident? Am I the only one who thinks this is unbelievably absurd? Surely the decision should be based on who’s to blame for the collision not the results of it. What if just after the stewards had announced their decision, Bottas’ suspension were to collapse and send him straight into the wall as a result of the smack it received a few laps previously(such things happened before)? If they thought Kimi was guilty surely they had to give him a grid penalty for the next race.
    Anyway I hope you’re wrong about that and the stewards just came to the same conclusion I came to, that it was really just a racing incident. My reasoning for this: Kimi was always ahead by half a car length at least but Bottas was there on the inside. They were playing a Senna-style game of chicken with each other
    Bottas: run wide and give me room on the inside(effectively lose the position) or we crash
    Kimi: back off, I’m claiming the corner for myself, or we crash
    Neither flinched, they crashed, Kimi was unlucky, Bottas was. End of story. Move on. No need to over-police everything like kids in kindergarten
    Btw, same can be said about the Ricciardo-Vettel incident. Another racing incident IMO and the stewards agreed. Again, I hope they really thought that, not that SV was at fault yet since he came off very much second worst we’ll let him off the hook. Maybe I’m naive…

    2) Regarding Hamilton: Rosberg’s tires weren’t in any worse shape than Hamilton’s. To do what Hamilton thought of doing was to purely steal the race he didn’t deserve to win as he didn’t have an answer to Rosberg’s pace this weekend. With the advantage they had over P3 it was logical for Merc to pit both drivers as a precaution and they were treating them equally. To hint that Merc somehow favored Rosberg in Mexico as Lewis has done after the race is utter tosh and a complete lack of ability to comprehend that even he can sometimes be slower than his team-mate(enitrly expected from a WDC calibre driver-he must believe he’s always the fastest there is). In the end prudence prevailed as he thought of the disadvantages of the fall out with the team that would surely follow similar to what Rosberg has experienced after Spa 2014. Make no mistake, Hamilton needs Merc, much more than Merc needs Hamilton as car is obviously vastly more important than driver and the last thing any Merc driver needs is to anger his team even if his name is Lewis Hamilton(at least if he wants to try and add a fourth title in the short term)

    P.S. Of course if LW would have waited 2 more laps to pit(or stay out) he could have justified the theft by being lucky with the safety car. But hindsight is always 20/20

    1. are you saying that the stewards are deciding on a punishment based on the results of the incident? Am I the only one who thinks this is unbelievably absurd?

      From the FIFA rulebook:

      The referee:
      allows play to continue when the team against which an offence has been committed will benefit from such an advantage and penalises the original offence if the anticipated advantage does not ensue at that time.

      Doesn’t seem that different.

      1. @charleski The advantage rule in football is entirely different. Firstly as soon as the play stops afterwards the referee gives the full punishment to the guilty player be it yellow or red or just a verbal warning. Secondly in football it’s needed so not to stop the flow of play all the time(a football match has on average over 30 fouls) as in American sports(which incidentally makes them all unwatchable for me). This has no relation or meaning in motorsports. Lastly in football sometimes to stop the play and give the foul is akin to giving the murderer his victim’s purse. Meaning putting the “victim” of the foul at a disadvantage(like preventing a goal which was the perpetrator’s idea). So the referee let’s play to continue to give the innocent party the best chance to score, but the he issues the punishment to the guilty irrespective of the result

        Yes. from the wording of the sentence you brought that seems like it’s nearly the same but poor wording aside it really isn’t. I’ve been a football player till the age of 18 in youth teams and I watch(and play amateur) football all the time, so trust me I know how it works

        1. @montreal95 About as relevant as saying F1 has wheels instead of balls. There’s no point giving a drive-through to a driver that’s crashed and an infraction needs to be far more serious to warrant a next-race penalty. I also think it was just a racing incident, but they’d only have given a penalty if they thought Bottas was to blame.

          1. @charleski “they’d only have given a penalty if they thought Bottas was to blame” You might be right about that, but we have a recent example that disagrees. Hulkenberg received a 3-place grid penalty after Singapore. He had retired on the spot. They still gave him the penalty. Massa retired later due to unrelated gearbox problem.

            It wasn’t that serious an offence by the Hulk either. Yes he was more responsible than Massa for the crash but it wasn’t anything that serious. So in my opinion if the stewards were of the opinion that Kimi was more to blame for this one as Keith implies they thought(and judging by what he wrote it’s his opinion as well which I disagree with), they could have given him the same treatment as the Hulk’s

            This hopefully means that the stewards really agreed with mine and yours opinions that it was a racing incident and disagreed with Keith’s opinion that Kimi was to blame

  14. This pit-stop thing has really been blown out of proportion, like many Hamilton-related things in the British media. Clearly the team made a decision to pit both cars since they had a free stop. Clearly, Rosberg was told that Hamilton would also pit, otherwise Nico had stayed out. Under those circumstances, to allow Hamilton to stay out would mean that the team deliberately lied to their leading driver and handed an undeserved victory to the trailing one. That would be unsporting and absolutely uncalled for when the championship was already over. So, there is absolutely no way Hamilton would win this one. To do that, he should’ve qualified and raced better, rather than trying to seek an unfair advantage from the team.

    1. What you’re missing is that Hamilton, rightly or wrongly, believed he had a setup that would let him preserve his tyres longer at the expense of sharp turn-in and quick warm-up. Therefore for the team to switch to a 2-stop was potentially saving Rosberg from the consequences of his qualifying-friendly setup, and denying Hamilton his advantage. Not saying he’s correct, necessarily, who knows for sure, but that’s his mindset.

      I’m sure the team meant it as you say but they didn’t exactly explain things very well on the radio. And 6 other drivers did the length of stint they were nervous about, so in Lewis’ eyes it was somewhat a Nico-friendly change of strategy.

      1. @Lockup And I think what you are missing is that at the end of the first stint, according to Bono, Nico’s tyres were down to 10% and Lewis were virtually on the canvas so Lewis was not able to preserve his tyres longer than Nico could. This is usually because the car following slides around more when he gets close which degrades his tyres more than the car in front. This was made even worse by the high altitude as evidenced by the fact that they were running Monaco wing angles but still recorded the highest top speed of the season so far. And which six cars are you referring to? As far as I know, only Perez did the race on a one stop strategy or am I misunderstanding you?

  15. Speaking as a Hami-Fan I have no qualms in conceding that Rosberg had the measure of him all weekend, and deserved the win. I just wish we’d seen more of that sort of Nico Rosberg in the rest of the season. Maybe he needs some sort of sports-shrink who can teach him to race well without having to be angry.

    Mercedes were sending a message with the ‘safety’ pitstops – no more racing until next year, just bring home another collection of 1-2s for the record books. That’s … a pity, and ultimately it’s cheating the fans.

    1. On average you can count on Rosberg having the upper hand in something like 3 or 4 race weekends per season.

    2. As a rule, Nico does not do well under pressure, especially when Lewis is applying it. I felt like he had a good chance of winning Mexico now that the championship was decided. Having said that, when he barked at the pits to NOT tell him the gap to Lewis at one point, I expected him to blow a corner. I am a big Lewis fan but was glad Nico stuck it out this time.
      It is really sad they are becoming enemies after such a long friendship, but it seems it always happens on competitive teams.

  16. I am pretty sure Hamilton has not liked a few calls from the Mercedes strategists or liked that there is only one strategist for both drivers in the past and I am wondering if this is one of the reasons his contract was taking a while to negotiate?

    I am hoping that he has asked for a personal strategist in his new contract so that each driver is given the best strategy for them to win. That way the strategy can’t be seen to favor one driver and they may try different strategies which will make the racing more interesting. Personally I do not like the Mercedes strategy set up at the moment as I think it is too conservative not to mention weak (they seem to make the wrong call quite often (Malaysia 2015 as one example off the top of my head)). I think that having one strategist to bring the best result home for the team (I assume) is actually hurting them as they can’t seem to compute the strategy for both drivers quick enough and more often than not it robs the fans of interesting battles that could be had between the two drivers as they usually use the same strategy for both which effectively doesn’t allow them to race half the time despite claiming that they let their drivers race! The few times they didn’t follow the same strategy for some reason it often gave us an amazing race (Bahrain 14 was the last I remember a different strategy when they were comfortably 1-2 but other races such as Hungry 14 had an interesting battle between them at the end when they obviously needed different strategies as they started at opposite ends of the field).

  17. what a boring race. the only thing going for F1 at the moment is its name “F1”, there are still enough suckers around the world that believe F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport, because of its name, when it reality, the racing it produces and the atmosphere it produces with sight and sound is very mediocre.

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